Health officials on Sunday appealed to the public, especially to people with chronic ailments, to be mindful of what they eat during the New Year celebration so as not to aggravate their condition.
The holiday season, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said, is often the time when people tend to overindulge. Such an attitude, however, may cause their blood sugar and cholesterol levels to shoot up, especially those with diabetes and hypertension.
“Anything in excess is always bad. Excessive drinking and eating may worsen the condition of diabetics or borderline diabetics. If they eat sweet and salty food nonstop, this could also lead to cardiovascular conditions like hypertension, heart attack,” Duque said.
Recent data from the Department of Health showed that noncommunicable ailments like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes are among the top 10 leading causes of death among Filipinos. Unhealthy diet and binge drinking are two of the major risk factors for the development of these ailments.
“What we only ask is that they enjoy but do it in moderation. They can attend parties, activities but moderate their intake,” Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo added.
Duque also reminded those who would have their fill of alcohol during the holidays not to drink and drive to avoid causing harm to themselves and to others.
Noncommunicable diseases, also called “lifestyle-related diseases,” are chronic illnesses caused by behavioral patterns as well as physiological and environmental factors.
Behavioral risk factors such as physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol and overconsumption of fat and sugar are known to have caused the main types of lifestyle-related diseases that include cardiovascular conditions (hypertension and stroke), diabetes, respiratory diseases and cancer.
Four key metabolic changes that increase the risk of noncommunicable diseases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), are raised blood pressure, overweight/obesity, hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) and hyperlipidemia (high levels of fat in the blood).
The latest data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority in June showed lifestyle-related diseases among the leading causes of death in the country in 2017.
Ischaemic heart disease, or when the arteries cannot deliver enough oxygen to the heart, remain the top cause of death among Filipinos in 2017 with 84,120 recorded deaths or 14.5 percent of the total deaths in that year. The figure was up by 13 percent from 74,134 deaths due to ischaemic heart disease in 2016.
It was followed by cancer (64,125 recorded deaths), cerebrovasccular disease or “stroke” (59,774), pneumonia (57,210), diabetes (30,932), hypertensive diseases (26,471), chronic lower respiratory infections (24,818) and respiratory tuberculosis (22,523).
PovertyAccording to WHO, poverty is closely linked to noncommunicable diseases, as poor people are at greater risk of being exposed to harmful products and unhealthy dietary habits.
In 2016, the Department of Health launched the DOH Hypertension and Diabetes Club, which aimed to enhance initiatives in dealing with noncommunicable diseases. The club also serves as a support group in communities to ensure the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. —WITH A REPORT FROM KATHLEEN DE VILLA, INQUIRER RESEARCH
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